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Small business optimism jumps to second-highest ever; tax cut cited

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Small business optimism rose in May to its highest in more than 30 years, helped by all-time highs in some key index components, the National Federation of Independent Businesses said Tuesday.

Expectations for business expansion and reports of positive earnings trends hit record highs, while expectations for strong increases in real sales reached their highest since 1995.

Reports of compensation increases also hit their highest in the history of the index.

Small business optimism index (1986-2018)

Source: National Federation of Independent Businesses. Note: Data collected on a monthly basis since 1986, quarterly since 1973.

“Small business owners are continuing an 18-month streak of unprecedented optimism which is leading to more hiring and raising wages,” NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg said in a statement. “While they continue to face challenges in hiring qualified workers, they now have more resources to commit to attracting candidates.”

Overall, the small business optimism index’s reading of 107.8 in May marked an increase of 3 points from the prior month and the second-highest level in the index’s 45-year history. The record high hit in 1983 is just 0.2 points more at 108.0.

“The new tax code is returning money to the private sector where history makes clear it will be better invested than by a government bureaucracy,” stated a commentary in the NFIB report. “Regulatory costs, as significant as taxes, are being reduced.”



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Bonds are flashing a huge recession signal — here’s what happened to stocks last time it happened

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“Yield curve inversion won’t signal doom,” Jonathan Golub, chief U.S. equity strategist at Credit Suisse, said in a note last year. “While an inversion has [preceded] each recession over the past 50 years, the lead time is extremely inconsistent, with a recession following anywhere from 14-34 months after the curve goes upside down.”

The most recent recession, in 2008, came 24 months after the 2-year and 10-year yield curve inverted on Dec. 30 in 2005, Golub pointed out. Back then, the stock market scored an 18.4 percent gain 18 months after the inversion and 17 percent return 24 months later, the analyst said.

Stocks started to go downhill only about 30 months after the inversion in 2005 as the S&P 500 eventually wiped all the gains around mid-2007 and lost a whopping 30 percent in early 2009 as the great financial crisis raged, according to Credit Suisse.

The stock market has jumped 21 percent from its Christmas Eve low as fears of an economic downturn and a full-on trade war with China recede. However, the rally was put on hold this week as the Fed‘s policy reversal reignited the recession fears. The central bank announced no rate hikes this year versus the two rate increases that were predicted as recently as December, and it also reduced its outlook for GDP to 2.1 percent in 2019 from a 2.3 percent forecast in December.

“Our core logic behind the inversion call still holds — it’s a bet the market will begin pricing in a ‘policy error’ risk,” said Ian Lyngen, BMO’s head of U.S. rates, in a note. “Unlike when the Fed was still clinging to the hope of another hike or two in 2019, an inversion now will occur as investors worry the FOMC’s on hold stance will prevent them from cutting rates quickly enough to stave off a more severe recession.”



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Tyson recalling nearly 70,000 pounds of chicken strips after a report of metal pieces

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A bag of Tyson Foods Inc. frozen chicken is arranged for a photograph in Tiskilwa, Illinois, U.S., on Thursday, May 5, 2016. Tyson is scheduled to release earnings figured on May 9.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A bag of Tyson Foods Inc. frozen chicken is arranged for a photograph in Tiskilwa, Illinois, U.S., on Thursday, May 5, 2016. Tyson is scheduled to release earnings figured on May 9.

Tyson Foods is recalling over 69,000 pounds of its ready-to-eat chicken strips after two consumers complained of finding metal in their meals, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

The frozen strips were produced Nov. 30, 2018, and have “best by” dates of Nov. 30, 2019. The products include the 25-ounce bags of fully cooked and frozen buffalo-style chicken strips, 25-ounce bags of fully cooked crispy chicken strips, and cases of Spare Time fully cooked, buffalo-style chicken strips. The products to be recalled have “P-7221” on the back of the packaging.

The three products were shipped to retailers nationwide, according to the FSIS, and to Michigan and Washington for institutional use.

A spokesman for Tyson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

No adverse reactions or injuries have been reported, according to the Tyson website. Customers who have these products should either throw them away or return them to the place of purchase.

This is the second major recall for the food company this year. In January, the company recalled more than 36,000 pounds of chicken nuggets after consumers complained of the product containing rubber.



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Tiffany, Nike, Avon Products & more

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Customers carry Tiffany & Co. shopping bags outside the company's flagship store in New York, March 18, 2014.

Craig Warga | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Customers carry Tiffany & Co. shopping bags outside the company’s flagship store in New York, March 18, 2014.

Check out the companies making headlines midday Friday:

Tiffany — Shares of Tiffany rose 3.2 percent after the jewelry retailer reported mixed fourth-quarter results. The retailer reported earnings of $1.67, 7 cents higher than expected, and revenues of $1.321 billion, missing estimates by $11 million. Tiffany also reported a 1 percent drop in worldwide sales, while Refinitiv had estimated 0.8 percent increase.

Citigroup, Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs — Bank shares all fell at least 2.9 percent as worries over the global economy sent Treasury yields lower. The benchmark 10-year rate fell below the 3-month yield, causing a yield-curve inversion, which often signals a recession is on the horizon.

Nike — Shares of Nike declined 6.6 percent after the sneaker maker reported weaker-than-expected sales in North America for its third-quarter. Nike also warned that its revenue growth could slow during its fourth-quarter. The company stated it was partially hurt by fewer Converse-branded merchandise.

Cintas — Shares of Cintas plunged 6.5 percent after the company reported weaker-than-expected sales for the previous quarter, while its full-year revenue outlook also disappointed investors.

Nokia — Shares of Nokia fell 6.1 percent after the network equipment maker revealed it is investigating transactions at Alcatel-Lucent, the rival it acquired in 2016, and that it alerted U.S. authorities to these possible compliance issues.

Avon Products — Shares of the beauty company rose 10 percent following a Wall Street Journal report that Avon is exploring a sale to Brazilian rival Natura. The company reportedly would acquire both the publicly traded Avon that operates worldwide and the private North American business.

Papa John’s International — The pizza maker’s stock rose more than 6 percent after announcing former basketball star Shaquille O’Neal joined its board of directors. The company also announced O’Neal is investing in nine Papa John’s restaurants in Atlanta.

Boeing — Boeing shares dropped more than 2.5 percent after an Indonesian airline canceled a $6 billion order for 49 of the company’s 737 Max jets.

—CNBC’s Jessica Bursztynsky and Nadine El-Bawab contributed to this report.



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